Celestial events have got us looking up lately. The recent blue moon and the approaching peak of the Perseid Meteor Showers are keeping us awake at night to enjoy the summer and the heavens. But even here in rural Vermont, light pollution is a growing problem for amateur astronomers (and some nighttime sleepers).
As Treehugger.com puts it, “The rampant and careless use of artificial light is destroying one of our most inspiring natural resources – the nighttime sky.” (http://www.treehugger.com/natural-sciences/19-dark-sky-parks-where-heavens-steal-show.html) According to Nationalgeographic.com “It’s important to remember that a night sky was accessible to everyone through human history, and now that’s gone. The night sky influenced art and science and religion for thousands of years—and it did something that we’re now cutting ourselves off from. The night sky is a resource that belongs to all of us.” (http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/08/130811-light-pollution-sky-space-science-perseids-meteor-stars-sky-night/)
Though there are no dark-sky parks per se in Vermont, there are some places you can still find inspiration from the nighttime sky without too much light encroachment. Addison County has no major light polluters. With only one city, Vergennes, and no big towns other than Middlebury, opportunities for star gazing are still pretty good – weather permitting, of course. This is great news because the confluence of the New Moon with the peak of Perseid Meteor Shower is in the offing. The Perseids are active from July 17 until August 24, their peak will be around August 11 when it may be possible to see as many as 60 to a 100 meteors per hour from a dark place; the New Moon is August 14, and thus the skies will be fairly dark and great for viewing stars.
“Humans have been observing the Perseid meteor shower for at least 2,000 years, NASA officials said.” (http://www.space.com/22332-perseid-meteor-shower-peaking-now.html) Here are some tips on how you can become one of them:
The best viewing will be in to the northeast – look just halfway between the sky’s zenith and the horizon.
Get comfy. Stretch out on the ground in your sleeping bag or recline on a chaise lounge. Standing, or even sitting, and staring up at the sky for long periods of time will put a kink in your neck and possibly your enjoyment of the heavenly show.
Bundle up. It will be much chillier in the middle of the night. The coldest time of night often corresponds with the darkest time of night. You’ll likely find the best viewing just before dawn.
Bring binoculars and bug spray.
Check out Middlebury College’s Clear Sky chart to see what your chances are for good viewing. (http://www.cleardarksky.com/c/MddlBryObkey.html?1)
The Perseid Meteor Shower does not have a song of its own, as far as we know. Let Moonlight in Vermont suffice. Happy stargazing:
The maximum of the Perseid activity in 2015 is expected during the night of the 12th August 2015. The Perseids is the name of a prolific meteor shower. The shower is visible from mid-July each year, with the peak in activity being between August 9 and 14, depending on the particular location of the stream. During the peak, the rate of meteors reaches 60 or more per hour.They can be seen all across the sky, but because of the path of Swift-Tuttle’s orbit, Perseids are primarily visible in the northern hemisphere. As with all meteor showers, the rate is greatest in the pre-dawn hours, since the side of the Earth nearest to turning into the sun scoops up more meteors as the Earth moves through space. This text has been taken from www.cute-calendar.com.
The maximum of the Perseid activity in 2015 is expected during the night of the 12th August 2015. The Perseids is the name of a prolific meteor shower. The shower is visible from mid-July each year, with the peak in activity being between August 9 and 14, depending on the particular location of the stream. During the peak, the rate of meteors reaches 60 or more per hour.
This text has been taken from www.cute-calendar.com.